Handsome, long-lived, with texture galore, sweet chestnuts are distinguished trees. They are also abundantly generous in providing wood for gate posts as well as nuts, which appear in autumn.
Although the sweet chestnut is confused with the horse chestnut, everything about the sweet chestnut is more beautiful: the edible (versus toxic) fruit, the tightly packed coat of spines, the elegant glossy, serrated leaves, the swirling, deeply fissured bark. At one time, the American chestnut (Castanea dentata) formed about a quarter of the tree population in the eastern United States before almost total devastation from chestnut blight in the early 20th century. The most commonly grown sweet chestnut tree in the US is now the Chinese chestnut (C. mollissima).